NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 17-2 Z10.01-9245
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Fluid Management
PROPOSAL TITLE: Multi-Environment MLI: Novel Multi-Functional Insulation for Mars Missions

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Quest Thermal Group
6452 Fig Street Unit A
Arvada, CO 80004 - 1060
(303) 395-3100

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scott Dye
6452 Fig St., Unit A
Arvada, CO 80004 - 1060
(303) 395-3100 Extension :102

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Alan Kopelove
6452 Fig Street Unit A
Arvada, CO 80004 - 1060
(303) 395-3100 Extension :101

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Cryogenic Fluid Management is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Human exploration requires advances in cryogenic propellant storage for missions to Earth orbit, cis-lunar, Mars and beyond. NASA has need of new technology offering high performance insulation for Mars missions, including Mars LOX or LCH4 surface liquefaction and storage and Mars Lander/Ascent Vehicle. Quest Thermal Group has developed Multi-Environment MLI (MEMLI), a novel multi-functional thermal insulation system that uses a thin lightweight semi-rigid Vacuum Shell supported by Quest IMLI layers and spacers for low heat flux and optimized for Mars atmospheric pressure. 

Quest engineers designed, modeled, analyzed, fabricated and tested a novel multi-functional insulation capable of providing high thermal performance both in-space and on-Mars surface for Mars missions.  A thin metal semi-rigid vacuum shell is optimally supported by Quest IMLI spacers, providing low heat flux and low mass. 

A 10-layer MEMLI prototype provided low 0.19 W/m2 heat flux both in-vacuum and at 4.5 torr CO2 (105-210K), with a low mass of 1.5 kg/m2.  Multi-Environment MLI was successfully proven feasible, is at TRL4, and remains a strong candidate for NASA Mars surface liquefaction and Mars Lander needed new technology.

This Phase II program will continue developing MEMLI, with focus on further development of lightweight, supported Vacuum Shells for use on more real world tanks, development of flight-like hardware for vacuum control, increasing robustness and durability, and maturing the technology. 

Tasks in the Phase II program include validation of Mars mission requirements, Phase I review, updating structural and thermal models, continued development of very thin welded semi-rigid vacuum shells (down to 0.005” thick) studying their application, performance and durability for Mars missions. MEMLI will be built, installed and tested on larger, more complex cryogenic tanks for performance in all mission environments (in-air prelaunch, in-space cruise, and on-Mars surface).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA has critical needs for improved cryogenic storage technology, including active and passive insulation. Mars missions have other demanding requirements, including the ability for low heat flux in Mars atmosphere, as well as during in-space travel, with durability and low mass. Quest designed, built, tested and demonstrated good performance from new Multi-Environment MLI (MEMLI) technology, which offers thin, lightweight vacuum shells supported by IMLI layers and spacers. MEMLI may offer one third to one half the heat flux of equal layers of conventional netting-MLI, with a thin 0.010? Al vacuum shell, and MEMLI may have one-third the mass of conventional MLI and conventional vacuum shell.

MEMLI, with equal heat flux in-space and on-Mars, and providing sufficient durability at low mass, is a strong candidate to insulate LOX or LCH4 storage tanks from Mars surface liquefaction activities, may prove useful for Mars Lander/Ascent Vehicle cryogenic management needs, and the thin vacuum shell offers better thermal performance in-air than SOFI, with a relatively durable metal vacuum shell, potentially offering new capabilities insulating launch vehicles.

Thin, lightweight vacuum shells may provide new capabilities and benefits for NASA space exploration missions and spacecraft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Quest Thermal develops & promotes new technologies. IMLI will fly on GPIM, IMLI will fly on a RRM3 flight experiment, Quest is working with ULA on several new technologies for launch vehicles. Clearly, an insulation system designed for outstanding performance for Mars missions will have limited non-NASA use, although, perhaps SpaceX might benefit from this technology.

MEMLI provided good thermal performance and potentially provides new capabilities and benefits for launch vehicles and spacecraft, depending on their mission and requirements. MEMLI, for example, provides a lower heat flux than Spray On Foam Insulation, at near equal mass, with much greater robustness than SOFI.

Several aerospace prime contractors are now following with interest Quest and Ball Aerospace development of IMLI and related insulation systems. LRMLI (and variants such as CLRMLI or VCMLI) could significantly improve upper stage cryotank thermal insulation, reducing cryopropellant boiloff losses and increasing payload capacity for missions with long coasts. Use of high performance VCMLI to replace SOFI would improve payload capacity in cryogenic upper stages, such as Vulcan and SLS. ULA funded in 2016 a subcontract to Ball and Quest to do early development and testing of VCMLI, in hopes of using it on an upcoming Delta IV Heavy mission, NROL-44, where the VCMLI would reduce boiloff from the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage LH2 tank.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Isolation/Protection/Shielding (Acoustic, Ballistic, Dust, Radiation, Thermal)
Passive Systems
Smart/Multifunctional Materials

Form Generated on 03-05-18 17:24